Regifting is the act of repurposing a gift you don’t want as a gift for someone else. It’s highly controversial but possible to do successfully. So, yes, you can give the sweater you got from your Aunt Patricia to one of your coworkers… if you follow this regifting etiquette.
Regifting mistakes to avoid
Only some gifts are suitable for regifting. Don’t repurpose these types of presents for someone else:
- Personalized gifts: Items customized with a name, initials, or photograph shouldn’t be given to someone else. Look for personalization in less obvious places, too, like a note written inside a book or a small engraving on a piece of jewelry.
- Handmade gifts: If the giver found out you’d regifted their handmade knit blanket or piece of art, they’re much more likely to be upset.
- Gifts you just want to get rid of: Everyone deserves a thoughtful present. Don’t make a pile of all the gifts you don’t want, then randomly wrap them and give them to others.
Sometimes regifting is too risky. Don’t regift a present in these scenarios:
- Within a friend circle: People talk. There’s a chance you’re creating an awkward situation if the original gift-giver knows the new gift-receiver.
- When it would be noticeable that you aren’t using the gift: If Grandma gives your daughter an expensive dress but never sees her wearing it, she’s likely to ask questions. It’s better to use a gift like this once or twice.
Tips for successfully repurposing gifts
Think about the type of gifts that make you happiest to receive. The person who gives you the present has usually considered your likes and dislikes and chosen something you would enjoy. Here’s how to do the same with a “regift”:
- Regift new, unused items: Make sure anything you regift still has the tag, original packaging, and any manuals or accessories that came with it.
- Consider the gift carefully: Is it an item you don’t need or want, but you know it’s something the new recipient will love? Then regifting is a possibility!
- Take care when wrapping the present: You can make a repurposed present look special with creative wrapping or a beautiful bow. And don’t forget to add a card with a nice message inside.
Alternatives to regifting
Regifting is controversial because people expect you to put some time and effort into finding them the perfect present. (And this doesn’t usually involve checking the shelves in your basement.)
Consider other ways of giving away presents you don’t want or need. You can donate them, offer them to someone as a “hand-me-down,” or use them in a white elephant gift exchange. Any of these options might feel more tactful.
You can also prevent unneeded and unwanted gifts. Create a wishlist using Giftster. Share it with your friends and relatives so they know exactly what you want. Encourage others to create wishlists, too, so you know they won’t be tempted to regift what you give them.